Two of the accused in the Vasukutty murder case nabbed in Mumbai last week, were brought here on Thursday before being produced before the Pathanamthitta Judicial First Class Magistrate I.

The two, Shijin alias Renjith (20), and Renjith alias Luttapi (20), who are the second and third accused respectively, in the case, were remanded to judicial custody after the Crime Branch team led by Deputy Superintendent of Police K. Venugopal produced them before the court.

The first accused, Biju (36), of Elanthoor in Pathanamthitta, was nabbed by the local police earlier.

Mr. Venugopal, in charge of homicide case investigations in Alappuzha and Pathanamthitta, told reporters here that P.K. Vasukutty, a private banker in Pathanamthitta, was strangled to death in his car after the trio kidnapped him while he was returning from his bank on October 15.

His body was found in the car a day later near the Laha Junction at Mavelikara. The gold and money that he had taken along with him from the bank were missing.

Mr. Venugopal, who said Shijin and Renjith were detained by the Mumbai Police while they were moving around in suspicious circumstances, said the Crime Branch would also probe various shortcomings in the initial investigation into the case by the local police. The local police, which had summoned and questioned the first accused Biju several times, did not arrest him. Neither was there any attempt to find the gold and cash that went missing. Biju was arrested only a day before the Crime Branch, which took up the case on November 31 following orders from the Director General of Police, decided to arrest him.

The accused, Mr. Venugopal said, had confessed to conducting a ‘trial run’ before the murder. They had stopped Vasukutty’s car at a deserted place and talked to him for a few minutes. The murder was committed two days later. While Biju talked to Vasukutty, Renjith and Shijin entered the car through the rear doors and pulled him onto the backseat before strangulating him. Biju, who planned the entire episode, had by then taken control of the car and was driving it when the murder was committed. The body and the car were found abandoned the next day while the trio roamed freely in Pathanamthitta till the Crime Branch took over the case.

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